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about the 30 years i have been doing this work, the studies, organized air-americans for as long as i can remember, and have been pulling the arab-americans and americans. putting it all together, i told them about a young woman who was a pre-med student, an idealist, who told me one day, i am not going to be like my father. i want to practice my religion by opening a clinic for the poor. she said, that is how i would practice my faith. a guy i knew in cincinnati the reminded me some much of my father as he took me to the mosque where he had helped me raise money to build. he got this from syria and he had that donated from lebanon. .
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>> and belief as i said in the american dream is the same. this is what we know. and this is the story that we told after 9/11 and it is the story that we tell again today. president bush got it completely right. the problem is not islam. the problem are people who have used islam to commit violent
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acts against our country and our people but what happened after we asked all these questions was a cottage industry who actually had an ax to grind against muslims and against arabs in particular, they ended up providing most of the answers. they wrote books and got them published. they testified before congress and dominateded the air waves on radio and television. i will never forget a hearing held in the senate on islam featuring three guys who -- actually if you had the reverse and the three muslims were testifying on the nature of judaism in an arab country, you would hear whoops and yells. but it was acceptable for this to happen. and the lies they told and the bigotry they spread were
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horrific. and yet people were nodding in the audience because that's all they heard. that's all they were in a position to hear. these guys inflated every incidents of violence as somehow evidence they were right, and they have done damage. shortly after 9/11 when we polled america, what we found was people still had a very favorable attitude toward islam . and now they do not. back then they felt they needed to know, and they wanted to know about islam and muslims. today, less than have of half have said they need to know more. bad information has increased so that people think they know, and that's the dangerous thing. ignorance and certitude are probably the most dangerous combination of all. we went into iraq not having a
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clue, and yet a month later people were talking about susanies and shies like they nuste -- sunies and shyas like they knew what it was. if this weren't enough, this cast of characters organized not only informational campaigns, but they actually organized politically. they were the ones who stopped the academy in new york city. they are the very same cast of characters who are organizing against park 51. this is a danger to the image of our country abroad. it flies in the face of the wise counsel offered by j. -- george w. bush. it is a danger of the social
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fabric of who we are. a few years back i was inviteded to speak in warsaw, prague and other places. people want to know what are the differences between the u.s. and europe, and why are your arab communities not alienated. why have they risen to the top in ways they have not done here? i spoke about the fact that we as a nation have always been different. we have been different in the sense that america as a concept is different and america as a reality is different. no ethnic group defines who they are, no religion defines who we are. bigots have had their time over way, but in the end, ultimately the notion of america as an absorb tiff entity is something. you don't just get a passport
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here. you get an identity as a -- and americans. you can go an algerian and you will always be one. you can get citizenship. it is an effort, but you never get the nationality. you never get the sense i am part of this people. the narrative doesn't include you. as a kid, when we studied louis and clark, i went with them. when we studied washington on the bought. we were there. we went with them on the boat. what is at stake in this park 51 story is not about a building, and it is not about a place. it is about a narrative of who we are as a people. if these guys win, whatever the
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outcome -- but if these guys win, then america won't be america any more, and the story of the muslim community here may very well be like that of the muslim community in france, or in germany. and that would be devastating for the social fabric of our country. i thank you, and i hope we don't have to have this discussion again in this way. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. i know we have a lot of questions, and before we get to the questions, a couple of ground rules. first, make sure it is a question and not a speech. if you want to make a speech, you can do your own panel. [laughter] out of respect for our friend from c-span, they have a boom mic, and they will make their best effort to get the mic above you so you can get your question heard around the
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country. let me start with something, picking up on what dr. zogby talked about. post 9/11 we suffered this horrendous tragic attack, but the country seemed to pull together. and while there were incidents of retaliation and some incidents not only against muslim-americans, but people perceived to be muslim-american, why is this coming up now, eight or nine years later? where is there now a call to stop construction of mosques across the country. there are 2,000 plus mosques in the country. there are six to eight million muslims in the country. why is this happening now? >> there is a -- >> you need to turn it on. >> there is a general mood afoot in the country. it is part and parcel of the
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broader social unraveling, i think, that is taking place. we saw it begin last summer. i think some of it has to do with the fact that we have elected an african-american president. some folks just can't ingest it. there's no question that the economic distress and the social dislocation is part of it. and i think at the same time that eight or nine years of disinformation has taken a toll. but if the social conditions weren't there, if this unraveling wasn't there, i don't think we would see it in exactly the same way. it is classic scenephobic -- xenophobiy -- xenophobic work.
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earlier italians got lynched and there was a move to trash or people and others. and then we had the anti-german movement as well. in periods of economic stress this happens. it has been fueled by bigotry and ignorance. another factor is the president himself was in a bind. george bush was able to come and speak out. if barack obama comes and speaks out as forcefully, you've got 20% of the public who thinks he is muslim already and holds that against him. in some ways, he's in a bind. it puts the rest of the country in a bind in that where does
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leadership come from on this? and how can leadership speak forcefully about it? i think it's a terrible situation, and we do need police leadership instead of fanning the flames. we need political leadership to do the right thing and put this out. as i said, i think the very social fabric of the country is at stake here? >> do you want to add anything? >> well, i agree with everything jim has said. i think we are at a crossroads in our society in terms of how we define america. is america an exclusive club, or are we going to live up to our values of pluralism? when people start questioning the quistyant of our president, -- christianity of our president, that is region
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onism. even now religion in america is part of an exclusive club. it is used also for political purposes since this is now an election year coming up to the november elections. and the fact is muslim-americans are the easiest targets. they are an easy punching bag for this because we don't have the reach. we don't have the lobby. we don't have a p.r. infrastructure. and so while we are responding to everything, the other side obviously has the microphone. it is the other side of extremists. my mentor always said something that is very telling for us as muslims, americans and people. he said the world is not divided into muslims, christians and jews. the world is divided into stupid people and intelligent people. >> well, on that note, who wants to be the first to ask an
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intelligent question. raise your hand, and we will have the gentleman with the mic come over. >> you and i have discussed this in the past. and that is while we know that the great majority of muslims embrace and endorse the founding principles of the united states and want to be good americans, unfortunately, there are people who don't and who profess to be acting in the name of islam. one of the difficulties it seems to me is there is no central authority, no central definition of what a good muslim is. is there any effort within the muslim-american community to uphold an america-affirming islam and reject and marginalize those who want to kidnap islam? >> i think this call for a centralized figure in american islam to tell people what islam
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is, what is right and wrong, is misguided. we do not have a pope, and we are not going to elect one for the united states. we believe in democracy. we believe in structures. people even -- where people within islam as well as outside of it would hold different ideas of islam as lock as they are in the basic principles of the koran. people who really understand what islamic law is about, have studied it, can think about it and write about it will come together and evaluate the various trends in the united states, muslim trends, and comment on them in writing. that is why i was calling for an education. for example, recently a lot of people came to me and said what
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about this story of the stoning in afghanistan? isn't that a different law? i thought oh, my god. we sat at my organization, and we wrote a multi-page analysis of that in which we showed it was not a proper application, and secondly the people who committeded that act are punishable because they killed innocent victims. nobody is talking about that. we don't need central authority. i as a woman who believe in democracy will move away from central authority. but in the sense of legal authority to educate muslims as well as non-muslims in the u.s. >> to add to that, it is not just the issue of what scholars are saying, but it is also what people are doing on the ground. the strongest front line against any kind of alienation
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or isolation of young muslim-americans, the work is being done in mosques, in youth associations, in community centers. it is people who promote civic engagement and the principles of islam. there is no stoning in the koran, and yet that myth has to be responded to over and over again. as we said, the path to god and the principles are mercy, justy -- justice and human dignity. the five that are accept the by all the scholars. they are the rights to life, free express, faith, family and property. so if there is any violation of those goals, then it is a vie lailings -- violation of
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sharia. so that is really the goal we are pursuing. >> jim? >> i will take another cut at that in a different way. i am a catholic. all priests are not pedophiles. i work with italians. they are not all tied in with the mob. i am married to an irish woman. she doesn't drink. [laughter] i remember saying after the christmas day attempt to blow up that plane in detroit that we learned from that that we didn't connect the dots in our intelligence community correctly. as dangerous as not connecting the dots is to wrongly connect
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dots and think you've come up with a picture. i think one of the problems we've got is, as i said in my remarks, they have inflated every single incident that has occurred and drawn a portrait of islam. some have chastised me for using the word bigotry, but let's understand what it is. i mean bigotry is when you take the characteristics of a few and generalize them into the behavior or attribute them to the whole. >> this priest, that peres, the only stories we read about previouses these days are that. but the story of the good, hard-working muslims all over are there. yet we know in our heart of hearts and in our experience. the is we don't know muslims well enough yet.
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we need to have this intelligent conversation, we need more exposure. we know to know more about it. we need to retain what we know. and we need not to connect the dots in a way that is not warranted. i think more than a religious authority, there is more experience and a change of heart. and that would, i think, be helpful in dealing with this problem. if you had the muslim pope say he is not a muslim for what he did, you would still have people saying he is not speaking for them. i remember speaking one time in new york on the first anniversary of 9/11. tom brokaw invited me to come and speak in the round to families of survivors. it was a painful day for them and a difficult day for me. the first question was why did they do it? what justified it? i said nothing justified it,
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absolutely nothing justified it. >> why did you say nothing justified it, and then but? >> i didn't say but. when are you people going to stop trying to find justification? i understood their pain. i understood it had temporarily closed their ears to listening. but the reality is that for the rest of america, we didn't have that direct pain. and yet too many still closed their ears and made the judgment that all muslims thought this way, or that way, or all muslims are inclined to violence, and you need to have them speak out. yet when groups spoke out, nobody heard them. >> the problem is to be able to hear responsible muslims. we need a mechanism by which they can be heard. >> did you have a comment? >> when we are having this wonderful discussion, we don't agree what is the definition of
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sheria law. keep that in mind. >> what role do you think the press plays in showing the muslims in a negative light versus the positive light that is already in, in terms of stoking, prejudice, stererotype and islam-a phobia. i work in a middle east peace movement with jews, arabs, convince and muslim. they are in palestinian and jerusalem. no mention of these organizations in the national media. the question is why do you think that is so, if it is so. for example, i am jewish, but i am not a billionaire. but if you look at the press, all jewish people are all rich. and this stererotyping goes on
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with african-americans and minorities. how do we change the images so that america changes as the images change. >> two points on that. i want to speak to two issues. number one, the nature of the media is they only cover what is a conflict. so moderation and bridge-building is not news worthy. it doesn't make the news when we get 10,000 people in chicago at our annual convention, for example, or in los angeles. and we bring governments and all sorts of civic leaders, and we talk about how we as americans of all different faith backgrounds are working together for justice, are working together against any kind of extremism, are working together for peace and security for the people in the middle east. it just doesn't make news.
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so unless there is a conflict -- and usually the story -- in you look at the stories about muslims, it is usually about their religious holidays. ok, they are having their religious holidays. or it is an issue where there is a discrimination story about a woman who wants to wear the head scarf or a man who wants to wear his beard. when it comes to the head scarf , i know it has become very politicized, especially in the middle east, and now it is becoming politicized here in america. the head scarf has become a political football. number one, a woman who decides to wear the head scarf is not oppressed. she is liberated in her own mind. it is her choice. when it comes to the head scarf, we should not be telling them they have to take it off and imposing on them. we should be free choice on
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that issue. on the other issues, it just looks like muslims are concerned about entitlements. the second part of that is what is our responsibility? i don't think we have effectively answered the questions that our fellow americans have had about islam. we tepid to talk about worship, but they want to know what is our social interaction and role in pluralism? in 1988 we had about 100 people, muslims, christians, arabs and non-arabs go to the democratic national convention. we felt that we were part of that american experience. we felt that we were contributing in terms of the policy discussions, in terms of our interaction. now we find less people attending those conventions, unfortunately, within the muslim-american community. there needs to be more civic
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engagement. and with that, more stories can be told about the muslim-american community. again, it is not about the scholars. it is about the mainstream voice. we still haven't understood what that mainstream voice is. >> next question? >> yes, you spoke a lot about people are putting misinformation into the mainstream and people who were spreading hate. i was wondering if you could give some names of organizations we should be aware of in the media and publishing books? >> i think we can talk later. their websites are known, and they have been torments many of us for years. i had the great honor of speaking at the 45th anniversary of signing.
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i was inviteded to give opening remarks. the next day, a hezbollah buddy. a couple of weeks later i was invited to speak at the iftar at the pentagon. yes, there is one in the pentagon, sponsored by the muslims in the military. a couple of days later an article appeared about zogby. but these characters are all over the place. and frankly, what troubles me is not only their websites, which taunt college professors, and urge students to spy on them, and create disinformation campaigns about arab-american
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leadership. what troubles me is the extent they dominate on fox news and cnn when it comes time to talk about these issues. actually, we don't get the air time to talk about them. they do. if we get invited, we get invited to debate them. frankly, i don't want to engage in a debate with these guys. it does become a bit of a problem. i think that where the media has responsibility is to fatten their rolodexes a bit and be more responsible. >> it is not just that we are invited to go and debate them. we are invited to go and deny the accusations. the cards are stack against us. it looks like we are in denial. we say we are not terrorists or
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extremists, and that's all people think about. that is one thing. and number two, we were also called part of the wahabi lobby. number one, we are not lobbying anything. we are just here to educate people about who we are and what we represent. number two, our organization from its beginning has stated clearly that we don't accept any foreign funding. not because it is an issue of legality. it is perfectly legal. went to be financially and philosophically independent from the middle east. yet somebody continues to call us part of the wahabi lobby, and we don't subscribe to that part of thinking. it is on people's minds. >> one last point. i got my doctorate in religion,
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and then i did my post dral -- doctoral work some meaning. the meaning of religion is how it is used, to. the point is that today the language of islam used by both this cast of characters we are talking about, but also the terrorists, are identical in that they are abusing language because of its evokative content. the guy who makes a statement and blows up a plane is really making a statement about i
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really hate you guys, or i am mad at my dad. similarly, the guys who throw wahabi around -- i remember being called names on the playground. there was a time when i might have been called a marxist, socialist, communist. now i am called a wahabi hezbollah. basically it is a way of taunting because the word has evocative content. people say jesus christ. they are not making a statement of faith. they are saying they are really mad right now. that is going on both ways. we have to under use and owe because. and these guys throws these names about, wahabi and hezbollah, the word value means
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nothing. >> let me just say again that there is nothing new about this. i make new friend every day, and new arguments. jefferson was not worried about this, that the media might take control and influence the thinking of the community so that it would have power than it should in a democracy. this is a problem mirk has with respect to the media in general. as far as muslim, my approach is as far as complaining about it, instead of that, there are a lot of muslim doctors in this country, a lot of muslim business people. but they shrink away from being lawyers, from being reporters and so on.
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now there is a generation of young muslim lawyers i am happy to see around the country, and where are the communication people? if you want your authentic voice to be heard, where are you? if somebody hears your objection to the news they are about to publish, maybe you would be able to modify that view. so my approach to this is that we know the problems. let's now move in and do our part in correcting it. >> question here? >> you have already referred to , i guess, like the media appeal of moderation and interfaith work and how that doesn't necessarily play. there is psychological research that says if you respond to an argument, you almost solidify the opinions of the listener and the viewer. what are we supposed to do when
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we can't refute their arguments, or sell our identities. what are muslim-americans supposed to do? >> number one, there is a verse in the koran, when it refers to hate, it says the rhetoric of hate is like the scum on top of water. it will float away. but the good work that you do that is of substance will remain on earth, that will benefit humanity. number one, ignore the rhetoric and noise. it will always happen. it has been happening from the beginning and continues today. so the good work, even though it is not sentence sational, even though it is not going to get the media today, the relationships that we are building is creating energy, is creating a movement for change. because the people that we get to know, reverend ed bacon,
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rabbi leonard bierman and others, these are great americans. we feel that story of what we represent as an american group of people working for peace and justice will prevail eventually. in terms of being more media savvy, we have a p.s.a., a public service announcement that went out on to the internet, and it got a lot of play. it got into the media. it was called injustice cannot defeat injustice. it was basically a group of muslim scholars, in answering that first question, talking to young people and saying don't be fooled by the extremist rhetoric. those efforts are getting significance media coverage, but as we know with any media, it is only in people's memory in a short span.
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the next week is a new story. you have to think about telling that story over and over again. so we are going to be doing some 9/11 service activities. there will be health clinics in all the mosques on 9/11, and the commemoration of the victims of 9/11. it is a shame they are trying to divide the victims of 9/11 as if muslims were not victims. we were all attacked as americans. telling that story is important , and we will be having a commemoration and vigils on that day. it will get some coverage, but you will have to continue working at that. the third thing is that now we have social media, we really are creating our own movement in that the word is getting out
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through facebook, twitter and other means of social media. that will get the interest of the networks as some point. i think there is much hope because we really have a lot of opportunity in getting the word out. >> let me also add that not all the ways which you respond to the situation are necessarily glitzy. some of it has to be hard patient work over time. that is the work of scholars. a lot of muslims when you tell them islam says x, and they don't know that, they say prove it. then you can pull an article and say read it. you can take a long time studying them can't annualizing them and footnoting them. i was in country where they had a law that i thought was unfair to women, and i said they needed to change it.
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after i expressed what i thought was the correct position of islam on the matter, he said show me the footnotes. that is what he asked for. similarly work is very important, and so is grassroots backed up by that work. >> i would like to say that i am grateful for this conversation, and i am proud to be a muslim. i am proud to be african-american as you can probably tell. i am also a veteran, as well as a health care and disabilities attorney. it just always surprises me, and i am asking you, do you think we could change the narrative by making sure that our spokes people are also representative of the full diversity of the muslim community. there are latino and european
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people are the increasing populations of muslims in this country, who are more than committed to be involved in this conversation. that is my first question. and then my second question is don't you believe that we should take the history note from the african-american experience in particular and see for example when we had the reconstruction of the united states after the civil war, that there was a rise in anti-african-american sentiment that basically resulted in lynching and all types of horrible actions across this country. do we not see the same parallel. a while ago all attention was on new mexico and the attempts to demonize latinos. there are other issues. we read in the new yorker
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magazine some of anti-islamic rhetoric. -- >> we need to answer the question. >> let me adjust your terminology a little bit. the way we see it and teach it in my organization, it is that it is a continuity from the early days to now. we believe that the muslims from the 16th century and later have helped build this country. we are not new immigrants. not only do we see a continuity, but that experience you are referring to is also our experience. the question is how much within the muslim community we identify with each other? how do we deal with the question of diversity in the muslim community? that has become more conscious
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recently, and we are dealing with it. >> i think the more we stress the muslim-american identity, then the more we will naturally have diversity in our representation in events and telling our story. there are problems that we are dealing with internally in terms of that issue. where are we in terms of the civil rights progression? i think we are still in the very early stages of that. we are not at the time of martin luther king for muslim of americans. we are understanding where we should be in terms of getting our rights in american society. but i think as a muslim-american community, we are still in the thought stages. we are still in the stages of mark us garby or people that
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are developing the ideas for the muslim-american community. and defining home as not where our ancestors came from, not where my grandparents live, but where my grandchildren are going to be raised. that is very important no matter what background we are from. lastly, god wants us all to be thinking leaders, not blind followers. i think that is the message that is very important that we have to stress for the thinking muslim, the common muslim. >> we have about 10 minutes. >> i guess i have two questions. the first would be what contemporary muslim country
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which operates under sharia would you point to as an example of the benign sharia that was described today. the second is which moderate muslim groups spoke out when it was discovered that text in virginia were talking about murdering christians and jews. which were the specific moderate muslims who spoke out against that when the international commission on religious freedom reported that? >> thank you. >> i would like to answer the first question because it is very simple. our belief is that there is no muslim country now that is following sharia law. one good reason is because the very basics of the islamic society, including the head of state legitimately by the people is not taking place.
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i am not defending any muslim country. i hope in the united states that i can be a better muslim than i can in some of the other countries. you called it benign sharia law. what did we do to it to make it benign? i don't like that. our laws are anaheim tehran laws. the only issue is whether they are applied or not applied. and in fact there is no muslim country that aplays it. there are tons of muslim countries that claim they are applying it, and they are using it to oppress the people. they are trying to tell that they are there, and the laws are by define will, so to speak. we need to tell these people this is not true. define will would want the will of the people to speak out. >> it goes back to the question
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do you want to validate the accusation that muslims don't speak out? and the fact is we have spoken out at every instance. it gets ridiculous how many times things keep coming up, to the point that we don't even know the cases that come up, whether they are actually vol i had or not. and the commission that the gentleman refers to, some of the commission leaders have questionable views in terms of religious freedoms of muslims in america. there was a report on that. i don't want to get into the politics of that commission or academy, but when it comes to anyone saying that we should be murdering christians and jews, we condemn that, and we denounce any groups that espouse those beliefs. >> jim? >> this is one of those -- if i can quote the new testament -- those who have eyes to see and
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ears to hear. i am not muslim. i am christian. i run the arab american institute. i was actually on crossfire when that question came out. up it is gross, despicable and wrong and should be stopped. a couple of years later i was invited to saudi arabia by the u.s. ambassador, who had not be able to have a guest for a long time and wanted me to come do a luncheon at the embassy and invite a number of saudi business leaders. one of the groups he invited me to speak to was a group caused whami, involving a lot of young muslim leaders. i was introduced, i spoke, and then they drove me back to the embassy when it was over. i got a question about pat
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robertson and some other u.s. preachers preaching hate about islam, and i said i condemn it, and we work hard every day to fight these guys. we are working harder than you can imagine to deal with this bigotry in america. i said but, let me remind you that you have immauns -- immatchups in this country saying things about jews and christians that are terrible. have you denounced them? they all nodded guilty about it. and then a character writes an article that said zogby, a supporter. didn't know what i said. didn't know that i challenged them on the bigotry of some of
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the imams. a lot of groups condemned that book when it was first released. the saudis did the job of getting rid of the book. it shouldn't have been there in the first place. pay attention to what is done and said. we would do a lot better in this conversation if we did just that. >> question over here? >> i as a muslim have trouble with. we have to add a word first before just saying muslim in this country. i would like your input on this. unless you are not wearing a head scarf, or unless you don't go to mosque or look cool, then you are a moderate muslim. but if you are wearing a hejab or going to the mosque, then
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you don't qualify for that term. we have seen some people in leadership positions advocating that those are the people that we need to talk to regardless of if they were non-practicing muslims or not cool-looking muslims. >> well, i would like to approach this label of modern muslim in a different way, because i know my colleagues here will address your question more to the point. in islam there is is -- is nothing wrong in saying somebody has interpreted islam in accordance with the society they live in. it is a required effort that muslim scholars, when they live in a society, say american, or european or iraqi or whatever, that they look into the circumstances of their society and then explain the rules and the basic principles on change. but the rules and the secondary laws in light of that society
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so that when they are used and applied, they cause positive results and not negative ones. the general rule in islam is that god the lawmaker made these laws in the public interests and not against the public interests. there are scholars here, including myself, who are looking at the american society and are trying to understand the islamic laws within the context of our society. that is a there traditional and accepted approach for what we do. what you are talking about is something more political, and i will let the others answer. >> first of all, the kmp oran says that it is god's will that you be a community of the middle way, of moderation. that is directly out of the koran. the prophet warn against any kind of extremism to the left or the right, to stay in that middle way. so within our religion, of course it promotes moderate or
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progressive thinking. it is the responsibility of muslims to apply that in whatever place and time they live in. now i agree that the term moderate musslill has been highly politicized so that now the term moderate means a person who agrees wii the status quo. islam is evil, yes. that is the moderate muslim so that the only people who are the moderate spokespeople are people who have left islam. there is a paradox in that. there is one who is not a muslim herself, but she is given the book tours and everything else. or people support policies of certain industries. they support war, that is a moderate muslim. they support israel against the palestinians, they are a moderate muslim. because that term has been
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exploited, then the term doesn't really mean anything in our community. i agree with you, it is muslim or mainstream muslim. to be muslim means you are adhering to the principles of islam. to promote terrorism, it means you are a criminal. it is not even a question of whether you are a muslim or not. >> alongside with an increase in political engagement from our muslim community, what should we expect from our elected officials? >> they really should stick to the values of the constitution to create harmony among the people and protect their rights. >> and they should be responsible. and they are irresponsible these days. the park 51 dispute to the degree that it was a manhattan fight -- we had seen it before
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over the academy, which was a terrible loss that that school got gutted the way it did. nevertheless, it was that same cast of characters sort of playing this out, and then some national political figures got into the mix and decided to exploit it. one by one, you had it becoming an issue. you had candidates in states where there are basically no muslims being asked what is your position on the mosque and then taking positions like well, they have the right to build them, but i don't think they ought to be building it there. or why are they doing it? they are gaming hallowed ground. it became an issue that had nothing to do with states, cities and congressional districts across the country. what should have happened on the part of media and the part of higher political leadership,
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is that we should have called them out early on. what we learned after nightfall was that the measure of our tate tism was the degree that we were true to the values of our country. we weren't going to let the terrorists win. tragically, i am reading the signs from those signs in the marches in new york and listening to the rhetoric i am hearing from the television and radio shows, listening to what political people are saying, and the terrorists won. they are winning this fight. we are sounding in our country no better than extremists abrought, and the clash of civilization crowd on both sides are driving this debate. it is irresponsible. it is a shame. george bush was right, and it is hurting our country, our image abroad, and it is hurting the very social fabric of who we are as a people. >> i think you would agree with
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a very short sentence that is not only related to muslims. what i would like to see is the politicians put the interests of the country ahead of the political interestses. that would help us a lot. >> on that note. i would like to ask you to close us out. >> thank of all for beale here. we always run out of time. we never have enough space. i was thinking with our panelists speaking that only in america. we have a public hearing room, anyone can walk in. staffers complain that you don't need an appointment. you can just walk around the halls if you want to. we are on c-span having a discussion about faith. they are dedicated to have a public discussion for the american people. we are blessed to be able to have this discussion and we hope to have more in the future. i want to thank our moderators. let me introduce some of the
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executive board of the staff. i want to thank the house science committee for giving us this room and congressman bared's office for letting us use it. you can follow us on our website, we to see you again in the future. take care. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> in a few moments, part of an airline pilots forum on aviation security. in a little more than an hour, debate in the french parliament on a law that would ban facial veils. and after that, a forum on the future of the middle east peace process. ,รก
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i am firmly convinced netanyahu is a serious partner for peace. i think both sides want the deal and those guys can do it. one of the challenges i think the u.s. faces is this lack of trust that i referred.
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as much as they want peace, if they are cynical and no longer believe that it is achievable. for these efforts to be successful, the palestinian people must be brought to believe that the occupation will end in a state law, the end of it from a israelis must become convinced that when they relinquish control that their security will be injured and enhanced burda. and in hansard. what they must do is not only forge compromises within the negotiating room, the condition the public outside the rooms they provide the leaders with the support to make the compromises that are necessary. let me say one last word about thursday. i have been talking to
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journalists. they've been asking me what will constitute success. we must be modest. i do nothing much will happen on thursday to the public eye. the two sides will meet. what is important is if they start a conversation. september 26 will be the real litmus test for how this process is going. it will require an agility and creativity by the administration and flexibility by the parties. thank you. [applause]
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>> thank you very much. can leave the finish than 10 minutes. >> just a word about today's incident. it is a deplorable incident that we can dim. this is not only in in human acts, but it is an act of that as a palestinian i would say is aimed directly at the heart of the palestinian national interest. i think the late president of us. president abbas sees it as ending the occupation. the only way they can give dignity in their own land is to have their own state. the only way they can get that
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is through negotiations. many the u.s. been engaged in politics know that national interest to a spot necessarily deflect in the immediate ways the leaders and officials interact. what i believe is that though both side have an interest in a successful interest is their interest in it in a lot of cancer. the beginning of any negotiation is very difficult. both sides have been conditioned over maybe 10 years or more of an active conflict. many wore them by the very leaders. there is also a domestic opposition for both sides.
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we have seen a lot of posturing and positioning. neither side really knows whether the other side is on the issue. the early phases of the negotiation have them more concerned about failure. what we would see at the beginning is a lot of posturing and programming -- probing and an attempt to get some advantages before the negotiations began. i believe the u.s. has an important role to take. they can reveal the modicum in which they will move.
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what we need is to start a political process of strengthening the negotiation and peace process bu this requires an action by the party. left to their own devices, they will fall into old habits. they should take charge in a code of conduct on the behavior of the parties aside negotiation room. the first component relate to how you do with the crises. today was a painful reminder that crises and terrorism will always have them. there has to be a way for this to be created between the parties.
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every other communication in spend this channel has to continue. there are other mechanisms. they wrote an excellent about this. we need to turn these lessons into structure. the second aspect police to messaging. over the last year, what we have seen is both sides pandering to their constituents their hard- line positions. they say this is a process they do not expect. we need to see a more positive attitude. ideally, i like to see the parties convince to public statements. i like to say an absence of this. alta loma, there'll be enough
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opposition -- also limit, there will be enough opposition. the negotiations have to happen in the negotiation room. i have seen the palestinians and israelis on tv screens negotiating the values of the positions prada. that is not help anyone. a deal can only be sold as a package deal. as important in the messaging cited things is the behavior. how did they behave on the ground. the palestinians need to deepen the progress that is already been made on the security front to move it away. the issue has to be still with
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in a more vigorous way. we have the issue of providing security. they will continue to engage in the freedom of movement. everyone knows that the 26 of september is seen by many as the next major crisis i am not terribly worried about this. i believe that the ended the day neither side are willing to have president obama so early on the process. the price they will pay is too high. most sites have an interest in continuing this. ultimately, this can be an opportunity. we are offering a compromise.
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the israelis will not be allowed to continue in the same pace we have for the moratorium. there'll be a compromise. i think this could be an opportunity to start addressing the public in saying that compromises have to be made the route the process. . i believe that progress will be stopped. we will go through the initial phase of positioning in creating trust of the parties after that , this will have to be private. the minute it becomes public, it loses the affect. we have to find something else
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to issue public support. . we have the blueprints and formula. have been engaged in an institution for the last year. it has been reinvigorated this week with the release. i think this is where we have to start focusing. i am encouraged. she gave the importance to this. this aspect has many advantages. one is being efficient. we need to have the sense of consistent progress. it also have wider diplomatic value. i know there is a deep-seated
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fear that once the state is created the state will be evaluated. it to be made of competing services. the more they can develop and improve security and governance, the more we can start having a compelling story about the need for the state. at the ended the day, you build it and they will come. it is important as they do this to develop this too insulated from the peace process. often when negotiant not going well, they throw things on the ground. it is very important to understand this process is a deep-seated interest for everyone involved.
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u.s. can come and offer the process and allow it to nurture. it'll become a project. in conclusion, i would say that i am optimistic. i see a degree of seriousness here by the president. i am optimistic because i see both sides having an option. i see a sense of the size having an option to move in a political way. it is out of this world. at the ended the day, my own belief is no matter what the conditions are i do not see any other option. this is something that we have to do as israelis and
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palestinians. thank you very much. [applause] >> if you can do this in 10 minutes, you have been in washington too long. i have had two excellent speakers before me they all had important points. i would like to me give back a little bit to organize our thinking about the event that we are about to see. i was promised that we need badly to distinguish between strategy and history. i see them too much mixed in the process of our israeli conference. in the process is going to succeed or to fail.
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strategy's are man-made. usually these goals can be measured and can be of a debt. history is a completely different thing. it has a lot of unforeseeable and unforeseeable forces. they have the characters like god. they have a lot of the mythology. a lot has been a press all the time by many. many have been dominated by a very powerful field. history is a very complicated thing the agony is mixing this. are business -- our business is
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what that obama is hand or anyone who is involved is to work out how to do with history into strategy. that is a conflict as starts early. it continues with the us there out the disorganization. . each time it is capable of changing itself from being taken corneal issue it to being a clash of civilization issued to match the new world order. it has been here it can watch out this kind of conflict even in our generation. people have lived through this
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process. i can say that this history was full of opportunities. the ones for the palestinians were nam they lost a lot of opportunity. i guess they lost a big opportunity. now we are about to have an opportunity. i do know we will visit are not. the nice thing about it is since 1973, we have another camp that is also resilience, trying to make the peace process happen. even the process would have reduce something.
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we have a well-defined issue now by which the issue or problem or contradiction is turned into a manageable issue related to issues that we know about. these are things on the map and people we can count there is room for a strategy. strategists can succeed. people who are working for peace will continue to work for peace. i hope this is not his 14th failure. and probably be our fourth success. it is a strategy, what are the
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assets we've got the strategy is based on assets and liabilities. what we have here, we have to peace agreements with egypt and jordan both leaders are here in that process. it signifies the stability of reaching the documents that probably you like at the beginning. they lived well. the implemented it for a number of years now. we have a change of heart in the american strategic mind. it was something that is on solvable that can stick to the end of history. now we are hearing from general petraeus and others that the conflict is important for the american national interest
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provocative want to talk about national interest, people can define it. they can come to a middle ground we have an asset of negotiations. it is not completely lost with the different issues. we have an initiative. we have an emerging common interest that is only separated by the continuation of the conflict. and you remember at any given time that there is a common interest in the region.
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it is separated only by the existence of conflict. there is a new common interest the alternative to success is really bad. if we did not succeed this time we are having war it is almost about time. we have a war every two years. the last one is now getting into the end of the second year. liability reno was mentioned. there is too little time for success. . once they are drag into negotiations people tried to of the level of demand the issues are tough.
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was it the best to be taken. the first thing is what will set before. we have to have resilience this resilience should be out of the media. i believe the media was not very constructive in this process second is how to turn historical issues into strategic issues. in that sense, they are equal want to deal with people, you have a problem with people like in any country. you can 5 find several ways to do with them we have the islamic republic of iraq it is a self
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definition of israel today decided it will have a constitution, there are recognizing the state of israel and it is recognizing that institution. excepting it is something different exceptions is different from recognizing. it is well defined in international law as such it is on the realm of the strategy hearts are to be one. -- rohm & hoss strategy. hearts are to be won. it goes into the realm of the world. we have got to take the
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principle that is not just the illusion of an issue i believe that unless they have a resolution that is not threaten the state of israel it is a red evolution. we cannot have our state with of the patient. any kind of slogan, i believe the lesson is the support issues number one. we have to denying -- define the two-stage solution the numbers are about the two state solution. we have to draw the line. once they draw the line we can get into settlements.
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and to be a waste of resources initiative should be operational less and implemented with the israeli withdrawal. jerusalem can go back once the framework will be adopted, it should be subjected to both sides. if adopted, the implementation should be done by both sides. egypt and jordan was monitoring. i believe we should give back
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there is the framework for the establishment. it is much easier it is part of a commission to work out. i think the efforts on the west bank is to be commended and to be supported and actually it is probably the first steps to establish the confidence with the israelis or international community. thank you very much. [applause] >> david? >> good afternoon everyone. i want to thank my intern for putting together the hand at uc i think we are all expressing condolences to the families of
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these israelis that were killed this afternoon. it is the first attack in close to three years. it is a time when they security cooperation has been excellent. hamas is not claimed responsibility this shows cooperation is not as great as people think. they clearly have a political intent i hope will denounce has been counterproductive to peace. i just returned from the region. i was there for six weeks. i had meetings mostly with the israeli palestinian officials.
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i would say that i provide my remarks quickly. one is the ability for this event of the skepticism. what is the role of president obama what is the domestic context. without repeating, i think i just saw something this morning. the growth in the west bank is that 11%. this is in a time of a worldwide recession. i agree with the bottom much of the work has been done. it has been working for us. i think he had seen the public support for a two-stage solution. it is substantial. and would urge you to read the policies.
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he goes even further in drilling down on this issue of the public support for it to stay solution. there is also the converging interest of the party to ensure that the growth does not take off in the middle east and that the influence of iran does not grow. when a lot of things working for is that we did not have in the mid 90's. it is easy to be cynical. none has ever gone broke about being a pessimist about the middle east. at the same time, we should not forget what we do have good for us. there is the public support there is a kind of converging interest recently. those are not in significant
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factors what has been the role of president obama? i think there has been a subtle critique of president obama who is outflanked by the united states in 2009. the bar was set so high he said he is of a tree. he said this in interviews that need a ladder to come down. in many respects, we wasted a lot of time where we are now it could have been at the start of the moratorium to months ago the hasted these a reflection on that. i think something happened on july 6 of this year will rightly not know. for the first time a bomb can out of a meeting with netanyahu. the relationship was strained in the past. i believe he was piece of lead
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is willing to take risk. is the first sentence of, about for netanyahu. it has led to a lot of speculation that he confided in no, about his bottom line. -- confided in obama. i think it is that innocent ministrations. after july 6 we see obama really get into the year ended press hard for the talks. he himself as been a skeptic he were to the arab side. you had a situation where they were aligned on july 29. they called for direct talks. that originates with obama did he had other motivations. you could say the midterms your kenning up. he was the go to person. the defense minister is under enormous pressure. the labor party might be pulling
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out. on a policy level, here is someone who once iraq and to show how these two events are one after the other. on iran, we have seen a change. i think this administration came in with a hard approach, believing that arab/israeli progress was a prerequisite for progress on the iranian initiative i think they have shed most of it. it is a tale imitation of linkage they are saying they will go ahead. we have three said the sanctions in june. we are going ahead we are going ahead anyway. it to be nicer for an ambiance.
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i do not know anyone who believes that the arab states are going to do something about a run i think what the administration is labeled a lot for linkage, i think they have actually half half considerable distance when they realize the region is a little more complicated where does that leave us now? i think it is important that the king is here is a different audience and we had with the annapolis. with the pageantry are the risks. this is a much more low-key affair. it is generally a fair question to ask. what a good to ask them any time when you like the israelis to extend its moratorium.
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the original concept of both would act. it is 80% i think this issue is a legitimate question. how do we judge the talks going forward? i agree with my colleagues. we do not know. there is probably not much more. i think the thing to look for is more in the weeks when they get back to the middle east what is the format? i think it is very significant when netanyahu said he wants to run the talks in one if you have a biweekly meeting with president abbas. that shows that he is serious.
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he is sent a dozen guys with briefcases and head in and pass into seconds. if you are serious, it and you want to close will because your free of leaks, that to be political dynamite in your coalition. the format is important every side has a comprehensive outcome ago in the q&a why they do that for them as far i think borders and security is where the progress is most likely. those are higher up. that is a good sign. the difference between him and abbas was 4%. each one knows with the other one wants. there have been settled policy shifts. netanyahu has said he is looking about the presence, not sovereignty.
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he says the arrangements will change over time. it suggests that the israeli role and not a monopoly i think we have seen a boss -- abbas speaking about the end the conflict. if you look at the cabinet meeting of netanyahu, it put that as one of this top three issues along with security and recognizing israel as a way to get around a lot of the issues. i think abbas has begun a distantly talks about the jewish presence in the land. i think he would go for the then this as the talks progress this is crucial i think this is where
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a lot more focus needs to be. right now, you have of this progress. the public is stated because of the public the layers of the past. this is where leadership is required. i am more of a skeptic a lot of progress as soon. you can have a very high level of distraction on two issues, jerusalem and refugees. it is clear barrault's language use already predicted you get sick of the capital on both sides or that the palestinians will go in the state's and i use what george% there. you could do it into the the higher resolution farther down. that might be a way of trying to get all the issues under the tent. in terms of solving the issues, i see no shortcoming for
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conditioning these societal landscape. my final point is on domestic conflicts. it is interesting. until the government have been brought down, and he went to madrid. the government fell apart i think there is not been enough of a study by 1998. i hope to write more about this. i think this is this fair, that he does go for that he did in 1998. then barack saw an opening for it. it seems to me and netanyahu is not want to want his coalition tillich absolutely has to. is not enough as a burden in the hands of this big. in my view, if he might bring it in with 28 feet.
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that is only if he knows that it is ironclad. it to pull the rug out from under. i think he is haunted by 1998. i think that is a key factor. on the palestinian context we all is done about the weakness of a boss. his support is double that of hamas. you have hamas getting five and $2 million. they will try to steer the part -- stirred the pot. what made this a tax so potent in the '90s was the link in a nod of arafat. he gave the allies to hamas to
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attack in view violence as a tool of negotiation. i feel the potency of hamas will not be what it was in the 1990's. this year really scares everyone. hamas does more to lose. it is very easy to attack them in a way that was in the '90s. i think the security cooperation is better. if there is no double game, i think of it harder for them to say and allow them to have a veto. the reason it was potent as the people thought it was arafat himself. that is why it have to become very clear very soon. thank you very much. [applause]
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those were for a fascinating and really informative presentations are kept reasonably with in your time frame which is remarkable your also all generally optimistic. that is also striking. i think i have to take the chairman's prerogative to ask a couple of tough questions about this process. and then launch a discussion for the next half an hour. three come to mine. when president obama began his 80 months ago, the presumption was said there were three layers to this israelis palestinians and the broader arab world. he was robust by the saudis in
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june of 2009 and there are no saudis here in washington participating in this event. there are are good and old friends say jordanians. we cannot say they are the arab world. that is not like the idea was to give it was so hard to do this woman thought there were three layers and receive no progress for 20 months, what are the chances of progress with only two left. given american missteps over the last 20 months, that projected the -- that certainly could give the idea that perhaps president obama was more
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interested in this process the many of the local leaders, do not the palestinians have the least a tackle interest to do nothing for the next several months and to test the proposition? maybe after several months of restraining we might can negotiation. is there a near-term likelihood them not to test the proposition that they will intervene? thirdly, in the broader scope, and there you referred to iran. is it better is it correct to say that the process is more likely or less likely to achieve results with clarity on the iran nuclear program or in the
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current situation when most observers believe that in some point we will see something major happens on the air drawn in the clear front. is the process as conceived a sophisticated and elegant holding pattern so that the united states and others can address the nuclear program at the end of which in a game or language that is in progress? are these issues to be separate? let me ask my colleagues for cummins. predict colleagues for comment. you do not have to comment on all of them. i ask you to come to the podium.
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>> ban may have abused the fact that i was so brief before i will try not to. you raise many fair point. what i'm trying to differentiate was about any kind any kind of success vs what i fill zero opportunity for success no one got poor by betting against the peace process. you can bet against it and probably do well today what i'll suggesting is that we see some opportunities that not exist before. the root question is are we better off now than we might be down the road are conditions learn to write been or are they going to sour my own view is a bill not ripen further.
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in past negotiations, you saw the united states intervene and the president was not on his final leg. president clinton came in with his concerns at the end with his effort. the starting with a serious effort. president obama the starting relatively early in his presidency by putting this front and center. that means he is getting some times to play with this process. i think there are tools here. he spoke about the three legged stool. the proposition was tested and proved to be lacking. the arab world did not deliver in the way that had been hoped. that does not mean the process itself is old. it means that was a flawed assumption. i think the arab world still has a great role to play, especially when it comes to faith building,
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something that i spent the past three years focused on intensively. i think the one thing they could do most importantly is follow up on the pledges to the palestinian authorities with actual deposits it really gets to another issue which you cannot touch on today. it is the state building effort and the tensions that exist within it. we all talked about meeting the bottom up. it sounds a bit. it is important is certify lot of complex and conflicting sentiments. that is a separate issue. there have been missteps along the route there will be some further missteps. in the next few months, i'd
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drink it will affect him. the bigger test will be like the ones we talked today. the violence will test the process and the ability of the leaders to move forward what he said about their run is very important. it to be much better to have clarity in the ambiguity that exists. that weighed very heavily. the prime minister did not come to this process with this as a strategic priority. is very clear about this. i think the lack of clarity about a run in more the united states maybe will affect the process. i suspect with the reasons that remain never know it said a
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prime minister agreed that this is precisely because of their rum. he wants to see where the it mr. phishing goes over the next 12 months. when it comes time for this tour compromise may have the ability to negotiate. enron does play a role in this process a doubt is going to be a positive one. >> beei do not think it is unreasonable. i will say it in three ways.
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they have to support the palestinians. they can argue. politically and financially it is costly. it has to be hammered were strongly and may have seen before. they talk about supporting for israel and the building. i think the general assembly would be a great opportunity for the u.s. and the arab states. they can start discussing the issue in the gulf and the wider region. this year will come into the process of the right time.
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there is something to be done in that front. there is fighting the issue of normalization. i think the initial message was too vague. i like to see a matrix of certain actions to bring certain other actions. israel is making historical concessions. o ultimate, you have that metric in what triggers a particular action. in terms of holding back, i do not think that part is terribly accurate for two reasons. i think ultimately it is very vulnerable. if the mayor can see a lack of good faith, i think you'll pay a price.
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i think he is quite concerned of what the american ideas live a life. unlike any american proposal when not meet the palestinian goal in terms of the refugees. that prospect is attractive. i think it is important in reaching a negotiated deal. they've been using americans for the bridging proposals. some would say it to be too dangerous. >> in a brief comment? >> i have a problem with this issue these are very vague terms.
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the one serious matter is this. it is supporting the national authority burda if we are going to make it to be sensitive, when there is normalization some countries' experiences. other since commercial diplomats. others made economic deals. each country has the situation. we have to be sensible. the mission is to support the palestinian delegation. on the intervention side, anybody who worked has done that
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all of our allies. the israelis will scream out. if they do not like this for their there is always civility in many ways. we pay for it in many ways. it is going to pay for number three iran issues on the table. it is one of the elements while we have this. the iran issue will be a very risky issue. the middle east, remember how they where miss envisioned. it is iraq multiplied by 10.
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>> very briefly, on the arid state issued if you look, i think there is a piece last week on a sharp reduction of the support for the palestinian authority i urge you to look at it. he did say is mr. mumbai belief of the arab states that if they withhold money arf force of reconciliation. i think it clearly was the strategy. hamas and not sign the reconciliation. i think that whole idea has not proved itself. any city revisited. the arab initiative is important. we have to make sure it is not back want. no one thinks it should be front loaded.
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we know it is not realistic. it is not realistic the way it is today. it has to be more parallel every step will take to the palestinians. i think there needs to be some thought about how you utilize the peace initiative. on the u.s. role of the palestinians, they wanted a commitment from the obama administration. the careful what you wish for. the u.s. position on refugees is very different. i think the united states is going to be very careful before it puts a bridge forward. the ones to know why there is a
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deadlock. that could be good. u.s. of a part of this situation. they will be part of the contact. i do not think there will be an obama peace plan until we know how close we are. you can have a bridge over a river but not a bridge over an ocean. what the proposal makes sense, but they are very far apart, i do not think it adds up. i think the question is very good is it a holding pattern situation? it is possible i tend to think if the works for hamas, i tend to believe their ability to stir up people. on the most part adobe with refugees.
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within a year, we will know a little bit more about how the issue sort itself out. and did not think any to cannot move at all. thank you. let's take a handful of questions. we will try to get a handle and before we close. very brief questions. in a statement. >> tony blair has been invited. >> we need the of the microphone. >> that is for the television audience. we see tony blair was invited.
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was the arab league invited? >> no. >> brief answer, no. >> gentlemen, you will have to stand up. >> i am not sure he is very likable. my understanding is the reason they are here is for the guise of the fallout committee. we will have to get to the bottom of this one. bottom of this one.

Today in Washington
CSPAN September 1, 2010 2:00am-6:00am EDT

News/Business. News.

TOPIC FREQUENCY America 15, Us 13, U.s. 12, United States 8, Israel 7, Obama 4, Jerusalem 3, Washington 3, Islam 3, Koran 2, Hamas 2, Burda 2, Sharia 2, Hezbollah 2, Tony Blair 2, Zogby 2, Abbas 2, New York 2, George Bush 2, Pentagon 2
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